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The top 5 myths about mineral oil part 1

We often see the advice that people should avoid mineral oil at all costs. This idea is propagated by numerous “natural” companies. Well, this advice is just bogus. It’s not based on any scientific studies. Mineral oil is a perfectly fine ingredient and has been used in cosmetics for over 100 years.

Here are the top 5 Myths that companies tell people to make them afraid of mineral oil. In part 2 we look at why “natural” companies would be trying to scare you.

Mineral Oil Myths

1. Mineral oil is contaminated with carcinogens. While it’s true that some petroleum derivatives contain carcinogenic materials (like some polycyclic aromatic compounds) the mineral oil that is used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry is highly refined and purified. It’s purity is even regulated by the US FDA and other international regulatory agencies. There is absolutely no evidence that cosmetic grade mineral oil causes cancer. And there has been plenty of testing done to ensure that fact. We could find no published reports in any of the dermatological or medical journals indicating a link between mineral oil and any forms of cancer.

2. Mineral oil dries the skin and causes premature aging. Mineral oil works as a barrier between the skin and the air. It acts as an occlusive agent which prevents water from naturally leaving your body through your skin. It will not dry out your skin or cause premature aging. Quite the contrary. It will provide moisturization.

3. Mineral oil robs the skin of vitamins. Since many vitamins are oil based, people assume that mineral oil will pull them out of your skin. There is no legitimate scientific evidence that this is true. Mineral oil has no effect on the vitamin levels in your skin.

4. Mineral oil prevents absorption of collagen from collagen moisturizers. Collagen in your skin lotions and moisturizers is too big to actually penetrate your skin. Therefore, mineral oil will have no effect on whether the collagen gets absorbed or not.

5. Mineral oil causes acne. In some people, mineral oil can exacerbate acne problems. However, most people will not experience any problems.

So, if it is not for safety concerns, why would companies be telling you to avoid mineral oil? We’ll look at that in part 2 of our series on mineral oil.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • maggie October 12, 2014, 2:46 pm

    My mother always used mineral oil to cleanse her face. she has always had the most beautiful skin.

    Then, she would use witchhazel rose water afterwards.

    Then, an excellent moisturiser (Revlon)

  • Maureen Martin March 22, 2015, 9:31 am

    Every esthetician and dermatologist I’ve ever worked with has told me the opposite. They said avoid mineral oil! It’s cheap to use that’s why it’s popular. I’d rather spend a few more $ and get a product that contains rose hips, jojoba, avocado, hemp seed, argan, sea buckthorn seed, coconut oils in it. The oils I listed and many more will not only hydrate, but will add vitamins, essential fatty acids, anti oxidants, anti inflammatory properties, etc to the skin. Mineral oil can’t do that! Before it was made “safe” to use on our skin & hair it was primarily used to lubricate machinery. I’ve been avoiding it for years and always will. e

    • Randy Schueller March 22, 2015, 9:49 am

      There’s no doubt that essential fatty acids are good for skin. However, they don’t moisturize as well as mineral oil. The idea that mineral oil is bad because it’s used to lubricate machinery is a logical fallacy. (Water is bad because it’s used to clean garage floors, right? Do you see how that approach doesn’t make sense?)

      • markvturner April 3, 2015, 2:10 pm

        I recently discovered that petroleum jelly is great for lubricating bike parts. Why buy a whole bottle of machine oil, when I can just use a small dab of something I already have lying around?

        (btw, don’t use machine oil or any industrial oil on your skin. It’s mineral oil, but it’s not purified nearly as well as mineral oil meant for skin)

      • Chris July 5, 2016, 12:06 am

        That’s absolutely not true Randy.

        Fatty acids hydrate, and nourish, all the skin because the entire body uses them. Mineral Oil only prevents moisture loss, it doesn’t add moisture or nourish the skin like FA’s, and only does so locally (where applied).

        This is an obvious post by someone who has skin in the game when it comes to big brand cosmetics. As such, the natural market hurts your livelihood, and it no surprise you would try to disregard it. Your whole career has been about formulating stuff for big companies CHEAPLY. No issues with that except when you try to pass your pseudoscience off as fact.

        In case folks don’t think he has skin in the game, here’s part of his resume via LinkedIn:

        • Randy Schueller October 4, 2016, 5:10 pm

          I just realized I never responded to Chris’s comment. I stand by my earlier statement that EFAs are not good enough moisturizers to use instead of occlusives like mineral oil. (They are good in combination, to be sure!)

          By providing my LinkedIn profile I guess Chris is trying to incriminate me because in the past I worked for “Big Beauty” companies. That hasn’t been the case since 2012 so I certainly have no vested interest in how well those companies do. I could care less what products people buy. I just don’t like to see people fall for all the beauty misinformation that’s out there and get ripped off.

          • Tim October 1, 2017, 12:43 pm

            And you don’t still get paid to speak at their conferences and don’t have shares in their companies?

          • Randy Schueller October 2, 2017, 9:48 am

            I still don’t get paid to speak at conferences for ANY beauty product or ingredient supplier and I don’t own shares of stock in any of those companies.

        • cassandra cary November 6, 2017, 7:08 am

          Dude…go away. Mineral oil is fine and you’re a troll

          • Gary January 7, 2019, 2:20 pm

            Why use mineral oil when you can use Silicones instead lol…
            Mineral oil might be fine to use, but its cheap as hell. Its like making a pizza with Bread ketchup and a slice of craft singles.

        • Elisa Griffith February 13, 2020, 4:46 am

          I have tried various coconut oils creams & I break out. Mineral oil has done so much for my skin. Read about the endangered animals. Vaseline breaks me out. Big pharma & make-up industry doesn’t want you to use mineral oil because they’ll lose money

      • Luccius March 3, 2017, 11:51 pm

        Are you sure Mineral Oil “moisturizes”? How does it add water to the skin?

        • Randy Schueller March 4, 2017, 7:41 am

          Mineral oil doesn’t add water to the skin. It helps the skin hold onto the moisture it already has. It does this by slowing down evaporation of water through the skin which is called transepidermal water loss.

          • Homendra May 13, 2017, 4:40 am

            Will you give money for cure if your mineral oil will cause cancer?

          • Randy Schueller May 13, 2017, 7:49 am

            First of all it’s not “our” mineral oil. Second, how do you plan to prove that mineral causes cancer. The best science to date says it does not. Third, if you don’t like the idea of using mineral oil, then don’t use it. But don’t make your decision based on false information and fear mongering.

        • Elisa Griffith February 13, 2020, 4:49 am

          The only way you can add water to your skin is by drinking it. Mineral oil I like because it doesn’t make me break out whereas coconut oil of many kinds I’ve tried does. Be careful what you use on baby or children because it has mineral oil in it.

      • Pamela June 29, 2017, 10:16 pm

        Regarding the mineral oil, how can it moisturize and sit on the top of the skin to be occlusive?

        • Randy Schueller June 30, 2017, 7:58 am

          Mineral oil moisturizes by forming an occlusive layer on top of the skin that prevent water from evaporating.

          • Christina August 24, 2017, 1:55 pm

            Thank you for the 411, I was ready to toss my baby oil after talking to my friends about the “bad publicity” mineral oil has received. I’ve had nothing but great results from using it and will now continue to do so with a better informed opinion.

          • Randy Schueller August 24, 2017, 2:00 pm

            That’s what we’re here for, Christina!

    • Bryan September 17, 2015, 6:04 am

      Estheticians are not scientifically trained so their opinions are irrelevant to this discussion. Indeed, most of them are as susceptible to unverified Internet rumors as anyone else. As for your dermatologists, did any one of them give references? Simply put, there is NO scientific evidence linking cosmetic grade mineral oil with cancer, despite many studies. I say that as a Medical Research Analyst after searching Medline. Can you provide any peerreviewed evidence to back up your claim?

      Finally, your concern of mineral oil lacking nutrients is largely irrelevant. First, people who use mineral oil alone use it solely as a moisture barrier. Their skin is not lacking in nutrient. But more importantly, most people use mineral oil as an ingredient in lotions and creams — all of which contain plenty of other dermatologic nutrients. Certainly much more than those “natural” oils you cite.

      • J. G. Pedroso February 14, 2016, 10:55 pm

        The person you replied to never once said (or “claimed”, as you accused her/him of) that cosmetic grade mineral oil is linked to cancer.

        It would be awesome to know why you believe you can say what is irrelevant or not to an individual. That ONE individual doesn’t use oils solely as a moisture barrier. The person was just comparing vegetable oils to mineral oil.

        • Aj March 17, 2016, 8:54 pm

          Shut up.. You spent all that time typing that retort and had nothing valuable to add to the convo smh way to go champ!

          • Luccius March 3, 2017, 11:56 pm

            As if you had something good to say, uneducated one.
            I have something good to say, though: go check that anger and lack of manners. It’s bad for you and everyone around you.

    • Nicky April 15, 2016, 4:57 pm

      I am here because of the panacea Coconut Oil. I made eye makeup remover with Coconut Oil, Cetaphil Cleanser, and water. I also used it a couple of times to remove coverup and my face broke out like a 14 year old! I would appreciate a proper non comedogenic ingredient to use. I’ve read conflicting reports. I’m just not interested in buying premade products if I can make my own. I do love Witch Hazel though!

      • Em April 29, 2016, 8:15 am

        Nicky — From what I understand, coconut oil is very comedogenic, so it’s not a good choice! Here’s where I got that information from (it also has a lot of good links): https://www.reddit.com/r/SkincareAddiction/comments/1siu7c/protips_for_choosing_oils_for_ocm/

        And here’s a list of comedogenicity ratings for oils: https://www.beneficialbotanicals.com/facts-figures/comedogenic-rating.html

        • Sara A Gallegos December 19, 2019, 12:47 pm

          I can attest to the use of cocnut oil if it touches my face i will break out

      • Chris September 9, 2016, 5:32 pm

        Although it has become super popular, coconut oil is super high on the comedogenic scale (4 on a scale of 0-5). No doubt, some people can use it on their face and not break out, but most people should not. Google ‘comedogenic scale.’ If breaking out is a problem, stick to 0 or 1 on the scale – like sunflower or safflower oil, shea butter, mineral oil, hemp seed oil, or believe it or not, castor oil.

    • Holly October 4, 2016, 4:55 pm

      People who repeat or make up bogus facts and then regurgitate them with arrogant confidence really burn me up. Did you really do the research to find out that mineral oil was originally used to lubricate machinery. NO! It just sounded logical to you. You are wrong. It was never used to lubricate machinery. It was actually the other way around!
      Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are actually very pure and gentle, they are hypoallergenic and they have a rating of zero on the scale for being non-comedogenic (the lower the number the least likelihood that the oil will clog pores and cause pimples). Actually, Coconut Oil has a very high rating for comedogenity, meaning if you are prone to break-outs on your skin you probably should not apply coconut oil to your face.
      Petroleum Jelly is actually a byproduct of the oil drilling process. It was called “Rod Wax” and the oil drillers used to apply it to their wounds on their hands, as a healing agent. The jelly and the mineral oil are just purified versions of the rod wax. It was never used to lubricate machinery; It is primarily used for health and beauty products. Did you ever wonder why baby oil is almost 100% mineral oil?
      Why don’t you take some effort and do your research instead of making up facts or repeating the hype that the expensive pyramid scheme natural beauty industry promotes.

    • Elisa Griffith February 13, 2020, 4:35 am

      Quite the opposite! These companies don’t want you to use mineral oil because it’s cheap & they’ll lose money.

    • Elisa Griffith February 13, 2020, 4:37 am

      All that stuff you mentioned won’t go into your skin. Unless you take something internally.

  • Md kennedy May 5, 2015, 1:41 pm

    I agree that mineral oil is not bad for your skin and is an effective moisturizer.BUT, do we really want to be supporting the petroleum industry and their Eco-destroying activities any more than we have to? I’ll stick with fair trade shea butter and olive oil from my neighbor’s olive trees (I am so lucky!)

    • DawnB November 21, 2015, 7:37 am

      You do realize the hypocrisy of your statement about supporting their eco-destroying activities, do you not? Reread the article, as it’s clear you skimmed it. Unless you were able to magically have your comment appear by some sort of telepathy, sans electronic device, it’s safe to say you also actively participate in those eco-destroying activities. You cannot set a boundary for what is/isn’t necessary.

      • Mimi August 7, 2016, 4:33 pm

        Why don’t YOU reread the comment from Md Kennedy? Literal quote:
        “… do we really want to be supporting the petroleum industry and their Eco-destroying activities any more than we have to?”
        Pay special attention to: ‘ANY MORE THAN WE HAVE TO?’

        • cosmo kramer December 25, 2016, 1:43 pm

          So? Aren’t you using a computing device to access the Internet and post here? Do you get it? Do you know how ignorant such comments come across? Do you have any idea how resource hungry the whole IT infrastructure is?

          Here, for your education: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2598562/data-center/data-centers-are-the-new-polluters.html

          …’with the usage density of servers, data centers account to 17% of carbon footprint of the global Information and Communication Technology sector.’

          source: https://storageservers.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/facts-and-stats-of-worlds-largest-data-centers/

          or did you think that all the compute power at your fingertips was due to nothing more than rose petal scented water?

          OIL is not going away anytime soon.

          • Gracie January 18, 2017, 3:50 am

            Your skin naturally moisturizes itself. Mineral oil locks in that moisture. Whoever suggested coconut oil in their beauty products obviously doesnt suffer from acne. Its horrendous for acne.
            Theres no evidence supporting that mineral oil is linked to cancer.
            Niki. The make-up removing product Abolene has shown incredible results for people with light acne to cystic and hormonal acne. Its skin softening properties are incredible as well. Just check reviews. It’s rated as one of the best, cheapest make-up removing facial cleanser on the market. Maybe that could help you with your sensitive skin.
            Abolene’s primary ingredient is mineral oil. Who would’ve guessed? As much as I love my natural and organic products, you can’t deny the results of the tried-and-true methods that have worked very well for even our great grand mothers.

          • Luccius March 4, 2017, 12:24 am

            Let’s share truth and facts! …as if they were slaps to the “lazy” person’s face. Anger, pompousness and sarcasm are basically all I see on this blog’s comments, and the moderators accept this. The “common person” doesn’t know as much as you – be glad you know better and share it with decency.

            No one civilized would ever take a blog like this seriously, moderators. I don’t know, maybe this blog is run by American males, which would explain the lack of tact and hard emotions. But that’s one piece of criticism I have. A place where truth is supposed to be shared will meet it’s purpose in a greater way by being accepting, diplomatic and respectful.

  • Blanche May 15, 2015, 4:55 pm

    Mineral oil works great for my sensitive skin. It’s non-comedogenic and doesn’t irritate when near my eyes, problems I’ve had with most plant-based oils, I’m sorry to say. I love it in my homemade creams.

  • Una Blogga May 25, 2015, 12:01 pm

    Well… I’ll trust the science-y folks over at EWG.org. It’s kind of their mission to bring us the most up to date and unbiased facts.

    I do like the Latin and super sexy spelling of “mineral oil…” Paraffinum liquidum, sounds so safe and silky smooth. Like rubbing transfats all over and then deep fat frying yourself to a delicious golden modified, with just a sprinkle of archaica for better marketing and “because…” Glad to see you didn’t throw that in. But don’t worry, you can keep using it. We’d rather you didn’t, for your own good, especially when there are safer and saner alternatives out there, but… so many chances, so few methylation cycles…


    • Michael December 15, 2015, 6:59 pm

      You do know that EWG has said some dubious things, right? Like their feelings on Vitamin A? Have you even tried clicking on any of the links that EWG supplies as proofs of their scientific vetting of ingredients? Here’s the first one they list on Vitamin A (they rate it a 9) — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7971717

      It says vitamin A is effective and good for the skin and that the skin metabolizes it well. Don’t be lazy and go for what a group of people think just because they market it to you. And worse still, don’t try and basically chide people who are actually more informed then you and don’t have an agenda. You do know that EWG has lobbyists and private donors (aka and agenda), right? Proof: http://www.undueinfluence.com/ewg.htm

      Please do some research and have people earn your trust. I don’t always like what these guys have to say but damn do I respect the science they put in.

      To be fair — Randy, you didn’t cite any studies for your discussion which is kind of discrediting.

      • Randy Schueller December 15, 2015, 7:03 pm

        That’s fair criticism, Michael. We wrote this quite a while ago but that doesn’t excuse any sloppiness in terms of citing our sources. Thanks.

        • Michael December 17, 2015, 2:59 pm

          You guys definitely continue to improve and it is great to see; I really appreciate the effort you and Perry put in. The blog is a fantastic resource and I look forward to the knowledge I consistently glean from it. Keep up the great work!

    • Em April 29, 2016, 8:25 am

      Una Blogga — I generally like EWG, but to echo what Michael said, they aren’t doing a very good job with respect to mineral oil. If you look at the sources they cite, it’s pretty clear that at least some of them are discussing industrial (rather than cosmetic) uses of mineral oil. For example, the source they cite for “Human immune and respiratory toxicant or allergen – strong evidence” is the AOEC (www.aoecdata.org). But if you go to that website, the exposure code for mineral oil (060.07) includes mineral oil, mineral oil mist, paraffin oil, petrolatum liquid, and white oil. So no only are they not differentiating refined and unrefined mineral oil, they’re lumping it in with a bunch of other oils. What you want to know is the safety data for refined mineral oil that’s approved for cosmetic use, and that’s not what EWG is looking at.

  • Jake September 23, 2015, 1:19 pm

    Does mineral oil effect the absorption of ingredients into the skin? For example: Allantoin or Lactate.

    • Randy Schueller September 23, 2015, 1:58 pm

      We’ve never seen any data to suggest that’s the case.

      • Kris January 16, 2016, 8:45 am


        I was under that impression as well; that since Mineral Oil is an occlusive (and an effective one at that), it will impede the penetration of oils, butters (i.e. Shea), or serums one might apply on top of it. Thereby not allowing the nutrients to be absorbed by the skin…

        Specifically I had wanted to use a Vitamin C serum after using Albolene to remove makeup, but was concerned the water in the serum would simply be repelled, evaporate, & take the Vitamin C with it. Is that accurate?

        Thank you-

        • Randy Schueller January 16, 2016, 12:42 pm

          No, Kris, that’s not true. Some of the test used to measure the penetration of ingredients is done from a base that contains occlusive agents like mineral oil. Also, vitamin C does not evaporate with water. It would stay behind on the skin even if the water does evaporate.

          • Andrea Dodd March 15, 2016, 6:15 pm

            Hi Randy. I’ve been looking on line to come up with vit c facial cream lotion serum or anything. It’s repeated vit c will evaporate and lose potency. I bought absorbic acid and have vit c vitamins. Any thoughts? Thanks 🙂

          • Randy Schueller March 16, 2016, 8:30 am

            Vitamin C does not evaporate however it can be hard to stabilize.

  • Catherine February 17, 2016, 5:58 am

    What are your thoughts on baby/mineral oil being a xenoestrogen?

    Thanks Cath

    • Randy Schueller February 17, 2016, 7:10 am

      I’ve never heard of this and it doesn’t make any sense scientifically.

  • Robert Nevoa March 4, 2016, 8:33 am

    Thanks for your cool information, some products for the face contain mineral oil as the first ingredient like Olay and some oils like almond and avocado oils for the skin- i mostly use these oils for the next because when I get older i don’t want to start getting creepiness on the neck, but virgin olive oil does make my face shine which i like and it locks water too, and thus i hardly break out with pimples nor anything, but i mostly avoid the sun and take vitamin D3

  • Jennifer March 13, 2016, 2:31 pm

    It’s interesting to me how the “dangers” of mineral oil have surfaced in tandem with the demonization of the crude oil industry itself. People should question the authority of their sources more. Skepticism–such a forgotten skill.

  • Carolyn March 19, 2016, 2:57 pm

    I will go with the studies, and the studies with rats links it to cancer, especially breast cancer in women.

    • Randy Schueller March 19, 2016, 3:34 pm

      Do you have a link to those studies? I’d like to share those with our audience.

  • Marilyn April 10, 2016, 11:38 pm

    I’ve made my own skin creams for 20 years with all natural ingredients like Shea, Rosehip, etc. and they’ve always worked for me. And then I got Rosacea all over my face and neck. I tried every concoction I could. A made a toner that calmed it but till I used a serum sample with paraffinum mineral oil ..along with a load of other ingredients I’ve avoided in the past, and guess what, it worked ! Within 2 days my Rosacea was a lot less angry, and on a good path to healing. I can be convinced by good science. I like natural and organic but science saved my sons life so I’m thankful for it!
    And for the guy who wondered about putting Ascorbic or citric acid (vitamin C) in his cream, just letting you know that it’s not a bad preservative for your cream but rather harsh on the face. Ester C palmitate is a better choice but I haven’t managed to find any except in marketed creams.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary April 22, 2016, 6:42 pm

    I’ve made a product I call Wood Butter that is a combination of mineral oil and beeswax and I recommend using it for wood kitchen products; I’ve used it for butcher block as well as wooden spoons and bowls. While many have loved it, it seems every couple of months someone has to leave a comment about using something better since they won’t use mineral oil. The one today was for fractionated coconut oil. What I just read said it will take a long time to go rancid but that does infer that it will deteriorate.

    Your thoughts on using mineral oil that is used on goods that come in contact with food? I have tried to share it’s not been considered harmful but every time I get one of those comments I’m back at it; found your site and thought I would ask your opinion.

    • Randy Schueller April 23, 2016, 7:54 am

      Mineral oil is approved for use in food processing equipment. As long as you’re using a food grade version I don’t see any problem.

  • andrianak2 April 23, 2016, 2:22 am
    • Randy Schueller April 23, 2016, 7:56 am

      The report you linked to shows that UNTREATED and MILDLY TREATED mineral oil is known to be a carcinogen. The grade of mineral oil used in cosmetic is highly refined and has been shown to be safe. That’s like linking to a report showing contaminated water can make you sick without acknowledging that purified water is perfectly safe.

  • PaintedGirl June 18, 2016, 5:16 pm

    I wish I found this article a long time ago. Currently I use mineral oil and sometimes tea tree oil to treat my very inflamed, over reacting, allergic, acne prone skin. It took me so long to realize that the lack of moisture in my skin was crippling my skin from keeping bad things out. I had to learn this basically by trial and error. You would think an oil would block your pores and make your face more greasy but it does the opposite for me. I think we all have to keep in mind that everyone has different skin types and that there are a lot of companies out there trying to sell you something. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet so try different things and see what you like. I just want to let you know that my issues are under control by focusing on keeping more moisture in my body not by buying some magical expensive product. Good luck with your skin and if you do want to give baby oil a try it right after your shower. 🙂

  • kay abrams June 23, 2016, 8:49 pm

    i am on oxygen and used nivea and the 2nd ingredient is mineral oil. will i catch on fire with oxygen.. How do i get it off my skin

  • Niki June 27, 2016, 11:09 pm

    Hi there! I am so happy to find your website! I am a graduate student, currently earning (someday….) my PhD in organic chemistry. I am also a cosmetic and perfume enthusiast (I hope to get into this field soon!!) and an acne sufferer. I noticed that it was mentioned that SOME people with acne do not react well to mineral oil. I too have heard for many years that it clogs your pores but I’ve noticed the comedogenicity ratings to be low. In my opinion I’d rather use a refined synthetic than a natural ingredient with variable composition and potential allergens. Can you point me to some literature on adverse reactions to mineral oil in acne sufferers? My skin is extremely sensitive and I seem to always be in the minority when it comes to skin maladies. Many thanks.

  • Genny August 13, 2016, 1:34 am

    I have been warned about mineral oil, and I think the fact that it is an artificial by product of something we use on machines is reason enough not to put it on our skin!! Hello world! Nevertheless, if it felt better than anything else i wouldn’t care…however the contrary is true. I cannot stand the feeling of it on my skin! I literally have to wash it off my skin because it feels like an immediate moisture sucker. I hate the feeling of dry hands so when I put on a moisturizer that eliminates the little moisture I had left then I became a very unsatisifed costumer of that cheap product!

    • Randy Schueller August 13, 2016, 7:35 am

      If you don’t like the feel of it, that’ fine. But don’t spread the misconception that it’s bad for skin just because it’s used on machines. That logic makes know sense.

  • Name August 16, 2016, 9:30 pm
    • Randy Schueller August 17, 2016, 8:04 am

      We’re both right. The article you cited is from 1969 and it discusses the carcinogenic potential of UNREFINED mineral oils. These are the so called cutting oils that were used industrially. The article even points out that the “white oils” (which are the type used in cosmetics) are a safer alternative.

  • Cheri August 26, 2016, 11:50 am

    Wow! I didn’t realize there were all of these concerns regarding mineral oil! I was of the mindset…..”if they put it on babies it must be good.”
    I know this may be odd to add after all of your skincare posts, but id like to share real quick…….I’ve been fighting a mite infestation on and within (skin) my body for the last 5 months. Nothing has seemed to detour these nasty creatures until I just recently started putting baby oil on my skin! They hate it! They come out of my skin so I can then scrub them away! I hope I’m not creating more problems on, or in my body by using the oil, but it’s the only thing that’s been helping me…….and I’ve tried what seems like EVERYTHING!! So onward I go, hoping the oil is going to cause any issues! Any thoughts?

    • Randy Schueller August 26, 2016, 9:52 pm

      I know that asphyxiation is a way of killing head lice. Maybe the mineral oil does the same thing for mites? I don’t know.

  • Shashwat September 15, 2016, 8:31 pm

    I trust mineral oil but cannot trust cheap and local companies. My suggestion is to use oil of a good brand. Because if something happens it will be for poor refining. Otherwise it will be good to use. Hope this ends misconception to use mineral oil usage.

  • Brittany October 31, 2016, 10:25 pm

    Am I the only one who has been using a product with mineral oil and has been worried about the effects? I was getting so nervous and wasn’t using my really effective cream with mineral oil because I was freaked out. I feel a lot better about cosmetic mineral oil now. And I’m going to use the cream again. I am totally into natural and organic products, but sheesh sometimes it gets to be overkill. Kind of annoying that we’re told basically everything will give us cancer. Ugggh. Thanks so much for the info!!

    • cosmo kramer December 25, 2016, 3:29 pm

      Brittany, we are exposed on a daily basis to a chemical environment with a myriad of potential interactions between all the molecules found in it, interactions which have not been the object of an exhaustive scientific study simply because the research space is just too vast to allow for such an exhaustive in-depth research, which in turn does not present any obvious and immediate pecuniary incentive.

      Therefore don’t you think that it is literally impossible to control all possible carcinogenic factors from affecting your body health?

      I’ll give you an example: Suppose you only eat organic food with proof that the food has not been exposed to any health adverse chemicals directly or indirectly (think all the pollutants trapped in rain), drink only filtered water of the highest possible quality, and eat only dietary supplements also of the highest possible quality (assuming there are no contaminants present in the manufacturing process or source materials necessary to make the supplements). Now… you still have to breathe, don’t you?

      So here is the question: Can you guarantee that there is nothing in the air that you breathe on a daily basis that might give you cancer years down the road? And what about the water you use to wash yourself? Or cook with? Or the water contained in many food products and which most certainly has not been filtered to the highest standards that you might apply to your drinking water? There is a huge loophole through which many harmful chemicals will still manage to get inside you and mess with your DNA.

      It is thus basically impossible to guarantee a living environment perfectly free of all known or unknown as of yet carcinogens. And therefore, it matters not “that we’re told basically everything will give us cancer,” or that it is annoying, because as I explained, if you can’t control every single factor, well then, there is nothing much we can do anyway.

      I understand where you are coming from as I was on the same road. Vegeterian and everything had to be organic from food to cosmetics and so on. Until I realized what I was just explaining above. And from that point on, I stopped giving a f*ck about it… and saving money by not buying all the expensive stuff anymore.

      In the end, we are all doomed to the grave anyway. It’s how we get there that matters. And this in turn also depends so heavily on one’s genetic inheritance. I’ll give you a personal example that will make many people ‘hate’ me (well, I hope not 😉 ): I’m almost 50, never had to take any medicine for any of the typical diseases (I don’t count the times when I was prescribed antibiotics because my parents sent me to the doctor for the flu when I was a kid, but which I never took again from 18 onwards), eat anything I want, am not overweight, have normal blood work, no allergies, no cardio-vascular issues, and don’t need glasses yet, and very faint wrinkles are only starting to appear underneath my eyes (nothing on the forehead yet). My energy levels are the same as those I had since I was 25. Basically, when I see all the drugs people around me who are over 40 are on, I find it hard to believe as it is such an alien experience.

      And get this: I started smoking cigarettes in my early 40s, albeit briefly. By ‘brief’, I mean 4 months I was on, and 3 months I was off, to start again for another 4 months, and so on. This went on for about 3 to 4 years until I went cold turkey. And before the cigarette phase, I would be smoking cigars at least twice a day, everyday together with whisky for about 4 years. And to this day I drink beer, wine, and liquor (on a regular basis for the past 12 years only though). I eat all sorts of meat (bacon included) more than fish (also for the past 12 years or so) and few fruits and veggies–before that I was a vegetarian except for fish, eggs and cheese for 15 years. Sugar and coffee are also part of my diet, but sugar in moderation (I never drank soda daily and not an on-going basis ever and stopped altogether when I was 25). I skip breakfast most days simply because I am not hungry in the morning and go straight to black dark strong as hell coffee to which I add a tablespoon of the MCT called C8 (caprylic acid), which cuts cravings of all kinds and gives me energy for about 6 to 8 hours so I never feel hungry for sugar.

      The only thing I can think of for this good health is perhaps that I drink Eastern European style kefir (4% fat) on a daily basis, which has all the gut friendly bacteria you need, eat seaweed, garlic, olive oil (the good kind), apple cider vinegar (also the good kind), oats, barley, rye, kamut when making cereals, and that’s about it. Eveything else in my diet is not what the doctor recommends (red meat + bacon so bad fat, not enough veggies or fruits, alcohol, dairy, bread made with white flour, some sugar) but no processed foods/snacks.

      Or, it all comes down to genetics. My dad, who was a chain smoker, lived to a ripe old age with no cancer, and that was on a 4-pack of smokes a day diet for almost 40 years! He quit smoking in his 50s just because his doctor scared him.

      So, if it all comes down to genetics, then the awful conclusion is inescapable: people are not born equal when it comes to disease susceptibility. And who is to blame for that? God? Karma? Pure chance?

      Yeah, life’s not fair, and it’s hard to see where there is justice in any of this.

  • Matt March 28, 2017, 10:56 am

    Look … I am the last person to freak out about “toxins” and “chemicals” in my skin care products, but I’m going to straight-up tell you that mineral oil and petroleum by products are disasters for my face. I didn’t get little zits; no, I would get deep, angry cysts; pus-filled sores stacked upon angry, bleeding pus-filled sores. It was horrible. There are SO MANY skincare and makeup products that I cannot use because of this reactivity. I have to read all the ingredients and pray a little with commercial products. I have switched to organic/”natural” skincare and makeup and the difference is profound. I make my own oil cleanser with castor and almond oils, use an organic moisturizer and oil serum. The acne is GONE and the marks are fading faster than they ever have in my life.

    I am AWARE that this makes NO SENSE. Natural oils should be worse. But this is my experience. This happened and it’s a merry go round of cystic acne every time I try to use commercial products, and I always want to go back. Maybe this time I’ve learned my lesson.

    Anyway, everyone’s skin is different, but regardless of the scientific literature, I am shocked that petrochemical ingredients are rated non-comodegenic. I don’t understand how that got this result given my own experience.

    So for anyone reading this, please take the “mineral oil is safe” with a grain of salt. It might be fine for you, which is great! And it also might not be, which is also normal! You have to experiment with skincare to find something that works for you. Don’t afraid to try an elimination routine to pinpoint the cause of your skin issues. That’s how I discoved that mineral oil/ petroleum was one of my triggers for cysts.

    Good luck and trust your experiences. 🙂

  • Paul Harris April 1, 2017, 11:57 pm

    I recently purchased Mineral Oil -USP (laxative-grade from CVS) and 100% Pure Beeswax nodules. I mixed them 2-1 (after melting beeswax)…this was to treat my wood cutting blocks, salad bowls and various wooden spoons (hadn’t been done in years). After the long job of cleaning wood then applying my “butter” my hands were oily and I cleaned them with soap and water. My question is: IF I left this in my skin rather than immediately washing off, would it be beneficial? Is the beeswax alone better than the “butter” mix for my skin? After living all winter with terribly dry skin, my hands now feel soft and moisturized…will they fall off in a few days?

    • Randy Schueller April 2, 2017, 9:23 am

      Mineral oil and beeswax is a good moisturizer combination and it won’t hurt your skin. You can make it even better by adding some petroleum jelly.

  • dianna April 25, 2017, 5:39 pm

    i used only natural oils on my body and face most of my life.
    i have used: Olive oil, purified lard, ghee, coconut oil, rosehip oil, sesame oil and others i can’t remember.

    i also used to make my own laundry soap and occasionally cold cream. i always used a natural cold pressed oil all over my body either before or after my bath.

    after a few years my handmade quilts started smelling like old cheese or something rotten.
    seems all those years of using oils that will eventually go rancid coupled with my home made laundry soap had created a build up of rancid oils in my bedding.

    only by washing several times with dr bronners sal suds (a detergent) and very hot water and also using the dryer (usually i line dry) finally got the oil out… or at least they no longer smell.

    I’ll make new quilts but I’m done with using natural oils on my skin. it might take a few years to build up, but esp if you are using homemade laundry soap and cold water, or even natural detergent and cold water, you will eventually have a stinky build up of rancid oils in your bedding.

    and yes, i fell into the myth that virgin coconut oil does not go rancid!

    when i first tried baby oil and vaseline i was convinced that i would get sick or die,,, but since the hospital gave it to me i tried it and it worked better than any natural oil except maybe cured sesame oil.

    i use only mineral oil or petroleum jelly now and no stinky quilts or sheets.

  • Chanel May 3, 2017, 7:37 am

    Hi guys I have a quirie, so if mineral oil acts as a barrier protection, if I am using a cleanser that has mineral oil in it, does this mean that it is pointless placing my serum and moisturizer on afterwards, cause they won’t properly absorb the nutrients/vitamins etc?

    • Randy Schueller May 3, 2017, 8:24 am

      Mineral oil acts as a water barrier to keep moisture from evaporating from skin. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will prevent other materials from penetrating especially if they are oil soluble. It also depends on the type of product you’re applying to your face. Creams and lotions have oil soluble components that can “mix” with the mineral oil so ingredients can reach the skin.

      • Linda August 20, 2017, 4:58 am

        Wouldn’t it be better just to eat healthy and drink water to get your vitamins and minerals then spending a lot of money trying to put them on your skin?

        • Randy Schueller August 21, 2017, 7:12 am

          I agree that putting vitamins on your skin is a waste of time (for the most part.) But you still may need to apply some kind of skin lotion because just eating healthy won’t necessarily prevent dry skin.

  • Cabeleira em Pé May 19, 2017, 3:06 pm
    • Randy Schueller May 20, 2017, 8:13 am

      Interesting! I took a quick look at the studies and they do appear to show that a measurable amount of mineral oil builds up on the panelists’ bodies. They conjectured the source was cosmetics but I’m not sure that was proven. I also didn’t see evidence that the amount they found would be considered harmful. They simply proved that it was there. I’d like to learn more.

  • rwh June 13, 2017, 12:42 am

    At 50, people still think I’m 30 – sure, I guess some of that could be attributed to ‘good genes’, but the only thing I’ve used on my skin after a shower, from head to toe, is mineral oil. It’s all I’ve ever used. I even smooth the tiniest amount through wet hair after washing and before lightly blow drying. I have waist length and very healthy hair.

    Mineral oil bad for you? Pfft.

    • Mandy June 17, 2017, 3:46 am

      Well congratulations! If only everyone could be like you, huh? Fact is, everyone is different & different products work differently depending on the person. So pffft.

      • kb July 24, 2017, 1:55 pm

        This jealous reply was the funniest thing of my morning lol instead of projecting my insecurity like the lady above me I’m just gonna say dang girl now I wanna try mineral oil

  • Robbie keith July 3, 2017, 2:16 am

    I have been using natural products all my life. I am raw vegan and very seldom go to western medicine . I am totally into natural products for the skin. I see mineral oil as pretty natural. Coming from the earth. I have used it on my skin and it really works. Ive never had 1 side effect and my skin looks great. I also use unpetrolium jelly which doesnt have mineral oil. I think the mineral oil works much better. Thanks randy for setting the record straight. I almost bought into the mineral oil scare. Rob

    • Natalia February 1, 2018, 5:34 pm

      Please let me know, can mineral oil/petroleum jelly clog pores by not letting your own sebum come out?

  • Anonymous October 15, 2017, 6:11 am

    Does mineral oil prevent water from reaching the skin?

    • cassandra cary November 6, 2017, 7:15 am

      NO. For the last time NO.

  • Nash December 11, 2017, 11:20 pm

    Never seen so many boring assholes on one place. My dermatologist checks my products and cosmetic grade mineral oil is fine. Ask your physician and give these crackpots the finger. Thanks for the post.

    • Diane January 7, 2018, 11:16 am

      Thank you, Nash. The ability of human beings to completely ignore established science for myth continually amazes me.

  • exci December 13, 2017, 6:44 pm

    i agree with mr. randy ❤️

  • KM January 2, 2018, 3:45 pm

    Any insight on mineral oil in hair products (such as in leave in conditioner creams)? Does it behave the same on the hair as it does on the skin?

    • Perry Romanowski January 9, 2018, 10:23 am

      Hair and skin are different. Mineral oil provides flexibility and shine to hair. But unlike skin, hair is dead. It’s like putting mineral oil on a shoe lace.

  • Julie January 7, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Nash, I was just about to post a sentiment much the same as yours.

    I wound up here after seeking information on a specific ingredient, and I have never seen such asshat comments, either!

    If one doesn’t like/doesn’t trust an ingredient, simply don’t use the product. After reading these verbal attacks against one another, I am disgusted in the juvenile people who behave this way.

  • Elena February 9, 2018, 12:51 am

    I see many people saying that mineral oil saved their skin.. and organic oils caused them acne.. 😐 I believe they do not know how to use organic oils.. NEVER USE ORGANIC OIL ON DRY SKIN!! ONLY ON WET SKIN! Specially coconut oil…only on wet skin!!
    For hair is different, you can use it on dry or wet.. better on dry hair.
    I won’t say to anyone “hey, avoid mineral oils.. etc”.. but I will never put such thing on my face or hair. I only use organic oils, organic shampoos (or shikakai) and trust me, my hair and skin are healthy.. People ask me what did I use to dye my hair .. when in fact is my natural color but I make home masks that add shine like no other chemical product on the market.
    I gave up for years at the chemical products.. and I’m super fine like this. The only one time that I used a hair oil based on mineral oil caused my hair to fall out. So.. I stopped using it.
    I only talk about my experience so.. you choose for yourself.. if you are ok using mineral oil.. just go for it. Then, if organic oils/butters/powders make miracles to your skin/hair… and you know how to use them, go with these products!

    • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2018, 9:05 am

      There is no scientific evidence that shows you’ll get any difference whether using organic oils on wet or dry skin.

  • Eve February 13, 2018, 4:31 pm

    Ahhh! Thanks for clearing some things up. I was wondering why people were slamming mineral oil.
    (plus why would a carcinogenic oil be used for babies..?)
    Can you tell me, when is it most beneficial to apply? E.g. straight after a shower to prevent moisture loss? Or in winter?
    If you mix it with other oils would the moisture-barrier effect (you said the word, I forgot) prevent or help the FAs in the combined oils sink in? Is there an order to apply the oils for optimum vitamins and moisture.?
    Thanks for your time!

    • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2018, 8:57 am

      There is not really an order but if you wanted to get maximum effect probably using mineral oil last would be a good way to go.

  • Melissa February 28, 2018, 2:46 pm

    There’s enough proof out there to show mineral oil is bad for not only our skin but our bodys. It’s able to enter our blood stream and our body cannot metabolise it, which means it accumulates as a toxin in our blood. Yes it’s moisturising, but does not offer any beneficial nutrients to the skin; it’s like eating empty calories and expecting your body to stay in good shape.



    • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2018, 8:19 am

      Mineral oil does not penetrate the skin. The articles you linked do not show that. Correlation and causation are not the same thing. Even the authors say “The increase in MOSH concentration in human fat tissue with age suggests an accumulation over time. Cosmetics might be a relevant source of the contamination.” The terms “suggests” and “might” mean the authors do not have evidence that it “does” and cosmetics “are” the cause.

      The EWG is not a science based organization and should not be used as a reference.

  • love March 17, 2018, 12:37 am

    Hi there. I read all of these posts and just wanted to add that just because they haven’t found scientific evidence linking mineral oil to cancer doesn’t mean that its a validation. Science is and always will be on the path of learning, advancing, and discovery. There are many reasons why there may not be any scientific evidence linking mineral oil to cancer, and i bet you that it is because of large corporations restricting the info. Would it really surprise you that big giants such as the oil industry would hide any true evidence which would decrease their cash flow? In fact your firm loyal support in mineral oil and lack of educating the public about more natural skin applications leads me to believe that you financially profit from mineral oil “obviously”. Avocado, coconut, and similar natural solutions for the skin you should be promoting. Lucky for you there are ignorant people on this earth and it has made you wealthy, congratulations.

    • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2018, 7:45 am

      We don’t promoted anything. If you want to use avocado oil or coconut oil, that’s what you should use. Large cosmetic corporations do not restrict product safety information. It would be simple for anyone to test their products and especially an ingredient like Mineral Oil. No large company is required.

  • JAY March 20, 2018, 4:23 am

    Are there any points in this article, “5 Reasons to Avoid Petroleum and Mineral Oil in Your Skincare” by Michelle Villett that you have not yet addressed or would like to give an updated or more elaborate rebuttal?

    • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2018, 9:51 am

      1. This is a correlation study relying on personal reporting of diet, product use, etc. It suggests further study but as the authors note, more study would be required to make the conclusion that products with mineral oil penetrate skin and build up. There is no evidence for mineral oil penetration so this remains an unlikely conclusion.

      2. EWG is not a science based organization. Their conclusions should not be taken seriously. The 2009 study referenced is not indicative of what happens in humans. Mice & humans are not the same.

      3. Mineral oil is proven not to be comedogenic & the author simply brushes aside science because of his personal beliefs. This can be ignored.

      4. Topical products do not nourish your skin. This is a marketing gimmick. You get nourishment from eating food not from putting it on your skin. The suggestion to put coconut oil on your skin demonstrates the author’s ignorance. It is actually comedogenic!

      5. Lots of things can produce an estrogenic effect. There is nothing especially dangerous about petrolatum or mineral oil.

      In my view, the author is not really interested in learning what is true. He cherry picks information that supports the case that he wants to make. This is not how science or truthseeking works. If I looked at ALL the evidence available and found that it supported the belief that you should avoid mineral oil, then that is what I would recommend. But if you look at ALL the evidence and find that there isn’t a problem using it, then that is what I recommend. Right now, the weight of good scientific evidence is that there is no problem using mineral oil in skin products.

      But this will not be convincing to someone who thinks he shouldn’t believe scientists because he would rather believe his own experience.